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January 31, 2014

Otsego chamber to honor brewery, lawyer

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Oneonta lawyer John Scarzafava and Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown will be honored by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce at its annual dinner in March.

At a media conference scheduled for 10 a.m. today at Brewery Ommegang, chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Ann Heegan is scheduled to announce that the company will be named the NBT Bank Distinguished Business of the Year. Scarzafava, a partner in the Oneonta-based Scarzafava & Basdekis law firm, will receive the Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award.

They will receive their honors March 28 at the chamber’s 28th Annual Dinner and Celebration of Business at the the Hunt Union Ballroom at SUNY Oneonta.

Heegan said Thursday the media conference will allow Brewery Ommegang employees to join in the celebration. It was the outpouring from the community that led to the firm receiving the award, she said.

“This year we want to celebrate the greatness of Otsego County, and to have a treasure like Brewery Ommegang that is woven into the fabric of our community and recognized across America is a tribute to the entire region,” she said. “That a homegrown business built from the ground up is having a national impact, that truly spells success.”

“Brewery Ommegang is so pleased to receive this honor,” Simon Thorpe, president and chief executive officer of Brewery Ommegang and Duvel USA, said in a media release. “We are honored to include Cooperstown, N.Y., on every bottle of beer we distribute, and to share a little piece of our wonderful community with the country and the world.”

The brewery was founded in Cooperstown in 1997, publicity manager Allison Capozza said Thursday. It has grown from its first beer, today known as Abbey Ale, to six year-round core beers, four seasonals, and an array of specialty and limited edition beers, she said. Duvel USA is the American branch of parent company Duvel Moortgat of Belgium. In the U.S., Duvel owns Brewery Ommegang and Boulevard Brewing.

The Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award, established in 2002, is given to a county resident who has had a long-term impact on our region and who gives back to the community, the media release said.   Scarzafava contributes to many local service activities, such as the United Way, the Pit Run, Boys and Girls Clubs and Otsego County Family Services.

Scarzafava also served on the A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital board of directors. In addition, the Scarzafava & Basdekis law firm recently received the U.S. News & World Reports’ highest honor awarded to a personal injury law firm, according to the release.

“He has had a significant impact on our community,” Heegan said. “We are excited and honored to present him with this prestigious award.”

Scarzafava said being named is “a pretty humbling experience” and “a touching honor.” He was out of the area when the media conference was arranged, and will be represented today by his partner, Theo Basdekis.

Scarzafava was born and raised in Otsego County, and began the law firm in the early 1980s, he said.

“It’s been a very special place for me and my family,” he said.